Review by C.J. Bunce
If you put aside the summer theatrical release of The Predator (a blast of a military/sci-fi action film, check out our review here), and take a look at the two novels that supported the movie, you’ll see a much bigger story Shane Black created to continue the saga of the alien race first introduced to audiences in 1987’s sci-fi classic Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, Predator. We reviewed James A. Moore’s prequel to the film, The Predator: Hunters and Hunted, here. Moore gave readers the best of Predator scenes, as one of what we would later learn to be multiple aliens arrived only to first face off in hand to jaw combat against an alligator in the deep South. Now writers Christopher Golden (Alien: River of Pain) and Mark Morris (The Great Wall) have arrived with The Predator, The Official Movie Novelization.
Taken together with Hunters and Hunted, the prequel and novelization bridge the events of Predator 2 in some 600 pages with a to-be-seen future story of advanced, evolved, and upgraded Predator hunter-killers–the place where the novel leaves audiences in the final scene. It is not the action star squad that is the focus of the entire story arc, it’s Sterling K. Brown’s quasi-government, too-cool-for-CIA alien chaser Traeger. And if you missed the end of his story arc in the film, you’ll be happy that Holden and Morris’s novel provide a finish worthy of this loathsome villain.
While the novel is faithful to the film, readers will certainly see a lot more than they could see as theater goers–the key scenes in the movie are predominantly filmed in dark and shadow, so the novel amplifies what may have been missed in the outdoor action scenes. Readers will also better get into the heads of the show’s main stars, the soldier McKenna, his son Rory, and scientist Casey, in addition to the Looneys–the men in McKenna’s ad hoc strike force against the Predator Upgrade creature.
The film was a straightforward action movie, but the connections between Rory, his abilities, the Predator Upgrade, and Casey’s findings that come rather quickly at film audiences or more rationally explained by Golden and Morris.
The novelization adheres in every way to the film–the soldier banter, the crude jokes, and the action scenes the original film was known for are all back in this sequel to the first two films. One difference that comes across: Casey may appear more sympathetic in the film–a testament to Olivia Munn’s performance. But the major element that can’t compare to the film are the costumes and makeup and success of the created props for the two Predators in the film. You’ll want to see the movie to get the full effect of those elements.
A solid novelization worthy of the film and franchise, a good follow-up to the prequel novel, and a good read to pack for your next long flight, The Predator: The Official Movie Novelization is available now here at Amazon.